Fatbirder - linking birders worldwide... Wildlife Travellers see our sister site: WAND

Record Funds For Cuban Wilderness Project

?135,000 Raised For Cuba`s Unique Caribbean Wilderness In 2001; this Year`s Fair To Help Save Sumatra`s Last Lowland Rainforests

London, Foreign & Commonwealth Office, 15th February 2002 ? The British Birdwatching Fair (BBWF) today presented BirdLife International with a cheque for a record ?135,000 (US$193,000) from last year`s Fair for BirdLife Eastern Cuba: Saving a Unique Caribbean Wilderness project. The Fair`s organisers also announced that this year they will raise funds to help BirdLife protect the last lowland rainforests of Sumatra in Indonesia, one of the world`s potential global extinction hotspots [1,2].The British Birdwatching Fair is proud to donate a record ?135,000 to BirdLife International`s Cuba project to help protect the largest remaining wilderness area in the Caribbean. This money is also a measure of how important global bird conservation is to the 16,000 birdwatchers who visited the Fair at Rutland Water Nature Reserve in August 2001, said Fair co-organiser Tim Appleton, who presented the cheque.Accepting the cheque for BirdLife International, Director & Chief Executive Dr Michael Rands said, This money is vital for the BirdLife Partnership to help protect the largest remaining wilderness area in the Caribbean. BirdLife International greatly thanks the British Birdwatching Fair and the thousands of people who visited last year`s Fair and gave so generously.The funds raised will be used to improve the existing protected areas network in eastern Cuba and secure their long-term conservation, and help catalyse national and regional Important Bird Area (IBA) programmes as previous BBWF-funded projects have in Brazil and Vietnam. A bird mural painted by leading UK wildlife artists at last year`s Fair has since been put on permanent display at the National Museum in Havana, Cuba.The BBWF organisers also announced the 2002 Fair will raise funds for a new project entitled Saving the Last Lowland Rainforests in Sumatra.Indonesia has the highest number of threatened species (117) in the world [3]. Nowhere is the crisis facing Indonesia`s birds and forests more severe than on the island of Sumatra, where a shocking 78 of 102 local lowland forest dependent bird species are listed as globally threatened or near threatened, said Fair co-organiser Martin Davies [4].These rainforests face an unprecedented threat to their existence from logging and clearance for agriculture and exotic plantations. Not only do they support dozens of globally threatened and near threatened (NT) bird species, including Red-naped Trogon (NT) and Rhinoceros Hornbill (NT), but also the world`s last remaining critically endangered (CR) Sumatran Orang Utans, Sumatran Tigers (CR), and Sumatran Rhinoceroses (CR).According to the World Bank all of Sumatra`s remaining lowland rainforests will disappear by 2005 if current rates of logging continue [5]. If these rainforests are lost, with them would be lost birds such as the critically endangered Sumatran Ground-cuckoo, mammals such as the critically endangered Sumatran Orang Utan, Sumatran Tiger and Sumatran Rhinoceros, the Raja Brooke`s birdwing butterfly and the world`s largest flower, the Rafflesia.The money raised will fund targeted actions for conservation at five critical sites designed to reduce or halt illegal logging at these sites and forest exploitation adjacent to them. This will be achieved by promoting local stakeholder Site Support Groups, reporting on the situation and public awareness campaigns.For further information please contact Michael Szabo at BirdLife International on 01223 277318 or 07779 018 332 (mobile) or Martin Davies on 01767 680551. You can also visit the BirdLife International website at http://www.birdlife.net/news/index.cfm?NewType=N or the British Birdwatching Fair website at http://www.birdfair.org.ukNOTES

1. The British Birdwatching Fair is held every August at Rutland Water Nature Reserve and is jointly promoted by the RSPB (BirdLife in the UK) and the Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust.
2. BirdLife International is a global alliance of national conservation organisations working in more than 100 countries who, together, are the leading authority on the status of the world`s birds, their habitats and the issues and problems affecting bird life.
3. Threatened Birds of Asia: The BirdLife International Red Data Book, NJ Collar, AV Andreev, S Chan, MJ Crosby, S Subramanya and JA Tobias, 2001.
4. The World Conservation Union (IUCN) Red List criteria for globally threatened species are: Critically Endangered (CR - facing an extremely high risk of extinction in the wild in the immediate future), Endangered (EN - facing a very high risk of extinction in the wild in the near future), Vulnerable (VU - facing a high risk of extinction in the wild in the medium-term), Near Threatened (NT - close to qualifying for Vulnerable), and Data Deficient (inadequate data to make a direct or indirect assessment of its risk of extinction based on its range and/or population).
5. Indonesia: Environment and Natural Resource Management in a Time of Transition. Washington DC: The World Bank, 2001.

4th July 2014